Can systems engineering help in the sustainability challenge for engineering designs?

Speaker: Mike Nicolai, Siemens Industry Software NV
Venue: Tour Speaker; he gives his talk in Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Warsaw

The emissions generated by a flight from London to New York and back are roughly as much as an average person in the EU creates by heating their home for a whole year. This number seems to be big, but the complete civil aviation sector is only responsible for 10% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. Cars are responsible for around 70% of total EU emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas (see EU Climate Action Transport).

The automobile design involves creativity and deep technical understanding of the involved techniques. However, for most modern engineering designs, physics and/or system complexity are limiting factors for the designer to fully “understand” his design. In the last century for both factors individual solutions were found: numerical simulations became a key tool to help the designer to understand the physical behavior, while methodologies from systems engineering became essential to handle system complexity. Both fields have to merge to solve the sustainability challenge.

In the presentation two examples of design processes will be shown, where physical behavior simulations are essential and where the system complexity is already an issue. The first example is a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) which will be placed in an existing design. In addition to the needed trade-off studies, the overall configuration and the model management including simulation models and data are important and will be shown. The second example is a design process of an automated guided vehicle (AGV): here the design process has dependency loops, which can be detected, e.g. by the usage of design structure matrix (DSM), but cannot be easily resolved. This is mainly due to the fact that the process has manual steps (CAD design) and non-linear behavior simulations. For both examples the energy conscious design is important for ecologic and economic reasons, but a various set of tools has to be used. In addition to some supporting tools, two main methodologies will be presented: a design space exploration methodology for the KERS and a dependency resolution methodology for the AGV